I hate needles! Good week everyone. This may look like I’m stating the obvious but I know what my pain comes from. I’ve only just had the courage to admit to myself that I have a problem that I find I must deal with decisively. I seem to be having a string of epiphanies of late – oh please forgive me everyone for digressing, but I am seated in the most wonderful chair ever and typing my post out. I’m in a hotel waiting for them to come get me so we can go out and do some work. I was typing my stuff on the bed before the producers called to tell me they were coming to my room to apprise me on what is going on. So I would look like I busy myself all the time, I quickly jumped up, grabbed my laptop, plonked and plugged it at the desk in my room. They came and we talked and they left. I sat down at the desk to work, and leaned back. That was where the magic began! The chair leaned back with me – in a very weird way! The soft back and the leather bound arms (very comfy) moved back with me but the seat on which my bottom sat stayed where it was. Kind of like tilting back without tilting back, and it swivels! I’m stealing this chair! It’s a joke o! But seriously though, I now understand the phrase “That’s my daddy’s favourite chair; he’ll kill anyone who sits in it!” Frieda, better warn the kids, before I render you childless – to be! Anyway, where was I? Needles!
I had some symptoms of malaria, high fever and headache, and had gone to see a doctor for a quick solution to the irritating malady. After observing me for a little while he asked me to go to the laboratory and give them a stool, urine and blood sample. I cringed at the mention of the last sample. I asked him if it was really necessary that I give my blood since the first two should be conclusive enough. He smiled at me very understandingly and said yes. I gulped and shuffled out of the room. I went down the hall to the lab and was met by a very amiable and friendly lab technician who introduced himself to me as Kizito – I wondered if that was the name his mama gave him or a nickname he’d adopted. Anyway I gave him the sheet of paper the doctor had scribbled their usual hieroglyphics on, which he read and then asked me to sit on a nearby stool so he could take my blood sample first. At that moment two very pretty young ladies walked into the room, greeted me and sat down. I looked at them and then at him. I must have had an inquiring look about there being some Hippocratic law regarding a patient’s privacy because he immediately introduced them to me as university medical lab students on their year’s internship from school. Worse still, they recognised me and squealed with delight on doing so. They began asking a barrage of questions about some movies of mine they had watched and questions on whether I had any relationships with any of the actresses I’d kissed on screen. And then the dreaded moment came when I had to extend my arm to be stabbed.
I stared in horror as Kizito tore the syringe and the needle from their wrapping and then the latter from its sheath to attach to the former. I was already up from my seat by the time he advanced towards me with the spirit soaked cotton wool to clean the torture spot on my forearm. This time I was not going to listen to any promises of sweets or chocolates after being killed; I wasn’t that young and foolish anymore! The girls looked at me in wonder – and I didn’t care! I was trembling all over. The thought of the cold impersonal clinical disinfecting attendant smell of the hospital, any hospital, the cold feel of the menthylated spirit and the cold excruciatingly painful piercing stab of the almost blunt steel tearing into my flesh was too much for me to bear. That image defied all reason and logic. It was like an impending death coming to me in the worst possible way – and it was supposed to help me get better! The girls tittered among themselves at this funny sight but when they saw how traumatised I was, sobered up and joined their boss in trying to calm me down. Their soothing words must have had the desired effect on me because I gingerly settled back on the stool, extended my arm, looked the other way, squeezed my eyes shut, further buttressed the closure by clamping my hand over them and begged him not to let me know when the needle was coming. I began stamping my foot on the floor repeatedly to further distract me from the impending pain and when it came, I took it like a man. It was mercifully quick. I looked up from my ordeal and felt like I had just climbed, and come down the Everest. For the first time that afternoon I broke into a smile. I’m sure it must have looked relieved and embarrassed because the girls were still looking at me in amused wonder. I swore them to secrecy and left after promising to bring the other two samples the next day. I hoped I wouldn’t see the girls ever again.
It still baffles me that in the past one hundred and fifty years of modern medicine no advancement has been made towards moving away from the barbaric practice of plunging needles into living bodies. It is as if a powerful and deciding secret council in the medical world is stubbornly holding unto the adage of “no excruciating pain no gain” and making sure it remains enforced on hapless beings like us. I refuse to be ashamed of my hatred for needles. I think it remains the singular reason for my abhorrence of the hospital environment and why, as much as is possible, I try to live as healthily as possible. I mean, look at common leeches. I hear even they are not painful at all when they suck blood from their prey, which sometimes are human. Why can’t these sadists adopt the simple creatures’ method of extraction instead of subjecting us to needless needle trauma? Oti su mi o! The mad man says he has no business with the man who is persistently following him about with a sharpened machete until he begins to look for his head. I refuse to be that mad man so if no one will speak against this anomaly, I will! Have a great week everyone! Once again, away with needles!